Music in film is extremely important. You can say a lot or just lead the way with a song or number. I already shared my interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda about MOANA music. My last interview from the MOANA Press Junket was with Opetaia Foa’i. He joined Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Mancina to create the music for this film and boy is it fantastic. In fact check out probably my favorite song below:
Now let’s get to the interview:
Q: Tell us how you became involved.
OF: Julie, our Manager saw somebody ordering all these CDs and I saw Disney underneath so she contacted them. Apparently, they checked out a lot of Artists and luckily they chose me so.
Q: How much time did you spend working and collaborating with Lin Manuel Miranda to create some of the songs together?
OF: Before I became famous, wicked famous, it was awesome because we had a lot of time so when we got together. He works very fast and I work very fast too. It was quite an amazing combination cause you’ve got Mark who, of course, is very experienced along that line and you’ve got Lin who’s very good with lyrics and directing. And there’s me who, I don’t read music but I do write from emotion.
I can grab a scene and I can get emotion out of it very quickly. So we found that that combination worked really well. I’m very childish in the Studio and luckily so was Lin and so we had a lot of fun together.
Q: How did you decide how to mix some of the culture and give it a more modern feel? How did you balance it, you know, wanting to make it up to date songs that have that traditional sound, lyrics?
OF: Yeah, I sort of trusted, that Mark and the Chris Montan and Tom, I trusted that they would make those decisions, you know. I didn’t compromise from my cultural background either. I’ve got many things that didn’t get on the Movie. A lot of things, they would dutily say, Oh David that was good but uh, we don’t want to scare the children. So after a while, I got the message, you know, because I’m very, very passionate abou the chance of the olden pre-MIssionary Pacific. Who didn’t have melodies but just charts and beats and I love that.
Q: What were your thoughts when you saw it put together with the Music and the story?
OF: Beautiful. You know, Animation, everything, I was saying, those guys, the animation, the story, everything was just incredible.
Q: What about capturing the culture? Is it right on?
OF: Well I could say this, you know. I could say this daringly. My ancestors would be proud of this Movie.
In Theaters Now
For centuries, the greatest sailors in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and no one knows exactly why.
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Moana,” a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who is inspired to leave the safety and security of her island on a daring journey to save her people. Inexplicably drawn to the ocean, Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) convinces the mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to join her mission, and he reluctantly helps her become a wayfinder like her ancestors who sailed before her. Together, they voyage across the open ocean on an action-packed adventure, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills her quest and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer (“Lifted,” “One Man Band”), and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016.
***Disclosure: I attended the #MOANAEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***